In South Africa, Berry (New Year's Eve) unconvincingly plays Kate, a shark expert and pro diver reduced to running ship tours for tourists, however few there are, after more or less turning one of her fellow divers to chum a year beforehand.
Guilt keeps her from getting back into dangerous waters until her old flame, Jeff (Martinez, Unfaithful, S.W.A.T.), returns with an offer she can’t refuse: guiding a millionaire (Ralph Brown, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace) and his son to said waters, and letting him slip outside the ol’ shark cage. Because rich white guys get whatever they want, she agrees.
That Very Bad Things will happen is as inevitable as the characters getting wet. Same goes for Jaws and any movie that depends upon you cringing at the sight of a pointed fin cutting through the surface, but what’s important is whether what those Very Bad Things happen in an exciting manner.
At the hands of once-promising director John Stockwell (Crazy/Beautiful), the answer is a strong “no.” He seems to have spent more time making sure the ocean glistens as brightly as it did when he made Into the Blue and Blue Crush than working the script into something that raises a pulse.
It doesn’t help that Berry seems only nominally invested in admitting that she signed up for a thriller, acting as if she were in another drama. The end result plays like Lifetime’s idea counterprogramming to Shark Week. Looks purty; plays prosaic. —Rod Lott
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